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Joys of the Season The Real Magic of the Holidays
More than the decorations or the carols, what I love most about this time of year is the joy that underpins these holiday trimmings. My kids throw themselves into the Christmas spirit with inspiring enthusiasm — believe it or not, they’ve been listening to “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls” since October! Watching their excitement build as we approach the big day certainly brings me back to my own childhood. There was nothing like waking up Christmas morning and running down to see what was under the tree. To this day, I remember how blown away I was when I unwrapped my very own gaming system. I never in a million years would have guessed that I’d be allowed my own console, and the surprise wasn’t over. Just as the gears in my 10-year-old head were beginning to turn, imagining how I’d monopolize our only television, my parents wheeled out the second half of my present: my very own TV. It was the perfect gift. My best friend next door had just gotten the hand-held version of the same console for Hanukkah, and the games were interchangeable. We spent long hours playing games like Contra together in what was really the dawn of the home video gaming era. These days, electronics for Christmas are the norm, but my wife and I like to mix things up with other gifts as well, even if they’re from the dollar store. Nothing beats the unbridled joy of our children diving into a mountain of presents. Cleaning up all the wrapping paper is worth it. Speaking of video games, my oldest son, in particular, has taken a liking to them. Over the years, he’s shown me incredible creations he’s been able to make in games like Minecraft, and now his creativity is expanding beyond the games themselves. He’s started making his own games using simplistic coding systems; at 11 years old, he’s already talking about pursuing a career as a programmer. So it comes as no surprise that he asked for his own computer this Christmas. As a parent, I love being invested in my children’s futures. Since my son already has such conviction in a career path and has fostered such talent for it at an early age, part of me really wants to make this Christmas wish come true. That being said, a computer’s a big responsibility. As his father, I also want to make sure I have the technical knowledge to keep him safe, which is a hard thing to do
when my son already knows his way around a PC better than I do. This is a brave new world for us. If anyone has some advice on the matter, I sure would appreciate it! But again, these gifts are really just the trimmings that underpin the real joy of Christmas. As Linus reminds us in the Peanuts holiday special, “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”
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5 Common Financial Struggles for Seniors
WHETHER YOU’RE RETIRED OR NOT
Planning for and navigating retirement is the most pressing financial concern for older adults. While understanding how to budget and spend as you approach and enter retirement is crucial, it’s far from the only issue that seniors face. Last year, a report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) investigated the most commonly reported complaints the organization had received from adults age 62 and older. Aside from retirement savings, here are the five major issues reported by seniors. Debt The number of seniors and retirees with debt is at an all-time high. Many seniors carry excessive debt in order to ease the burden on their children and grandchildren. Some still have student debt from their college years or other outstanding loans. Others turn to credit cards to defray a surprise cost like a medical emergency. If you’re in danger of falling behind on payments, contact your lenders before opening a new credit account. Reverse Mortgages Many seniors have reverse mortgages, which allow them to buy into home equity provided they repay it when the property is sold. In this mortgage structure, however, people still need to pay property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. These mortgages can end up being a trap for seniors, which is why Jean Setzfand, a senior vice president at AARP, refers to them as a last resort. You’ve trusted Keystone Law Firm to put the proper arrangements in place for your family following your death; now we want to expand that level of trust while you’re still living. We recently announced the addition of family law to our practice, and we’ve recruited trustworthy experts to help you and your family through a variety of issues. Learn more about the services we now provide below. Ending a Marriage: No one enters a marriage expecting it to end, but sometimes severing a relationship with your spouse is the best option. Annulments, divorce, legal separations, spousal maintenance, and life partnership issues are now part of our legal expertise. We’ll help you understand the intricate details of Arizona law and provide you with resources to help you cope and heal. Parental Rights: Being a parent is complicated enough without legal trouble, but if you’re struggling through child custody and support, grandparents’ rights, minor guardianships, parental termination, paternity, and life partnership parental rights, our legal team can help you. Whether you’re looking to find a fair custody agreement or you’re considering adoption, our guidance extends to the people in your life who mean the most to you: your children. MoreWays to Help WHAT OUR FIRM CAN DO FOR YOUR FAMILY
Scams and Identity Theft Sadly, many identity thieves and cybercriminals target the elderly. While your credit report can be corrected after such an event, many seniors are unequipped to deal with the process. The best defense is to check your statements often to ensure that any foul behavior is caught as early as possible. Confusion Regarding Fees Many seniors reported charges they didn’t understand to the CFPB. Often, they were signed up for subscriptions they didn’t use or weren’t sure how interest was being calculated. As with identity theft, monitoring your statements for unusual charges is the best way to avoid this source of stress. Loss of a Spouse The loss of a spouse presents challenges much greater than the financial burden, but that is often a major part of navigating the death of your partner. Accessing bank accounts and other assets can prove difficult, especially if it was the deceased who primarily managed the finances. Working with a financial planner or elder law attorney can help make this process less daunting.
Everything in Between: Family law covers familial difficulties that many don’t understand how to navigate until they are trudging through them. We recognize that your case isn’t clear-cut, so we also provide legal support through mediations, modifications, property divisions, protective orders, and relocations. If something surprising comes up in your case, we’ll be prepared to help you manage it. Multiple Issues: Every case is different. Parental cases can be complicated, and splitting one life into two can cause painful uncertainty. We understand that you may sometimes need our counsel for many different legal complications you’re facing within family law. This will set you up with the most supportive foundation for success once your case is closed. Family law is complex, and we know how confusing and stressful this transition can be. Let us help you get the rights you and your family deserve and learn more about what our family law services can do for you by visiting KeystoneLawFirm.com.
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IS YOUR TRUST PROTECTED FROM CREDITORS?
Estate planning is always a smart move, but with so many options and choices available for you and your beneficiaries, it can be confusing to decide which path to take. As experts, lawyers can give you guidance, but diving into estate planning with a clear understanding of what you want and need is an important first step. Arm yourself with the following knowledge about a common estate planning myth as you prepare for your family’s future. The Myth: Putting your assets into a living trust will protect it from creditors. This way, you can save money for your heirs without potentially losing those funds if faced with legal compensation debt. The Truth: A living trust is a great way to safely save money for your loved ones after you pass. It eliminates the need for probate to disseminate your will properly, as your assets will already be named to beneficiaries. Additionally, much like other forms of saving, these trusts are protected by federal and state governments. This can be confusing, because trusts are protected and viewed as an ultimate say, regardless of their designation as revocable (ability to change throughout the lifespan of the “owner”) or irrevocable (the trust cannot be changed once it’s put into place). However, revocable living trusts are still viewed as part of your assets while you’re alive. If you have set up this kind of trust, you can easily adjust, move, update, and end it at any point. Therefore, the revocable living trust, though set up to benefit a loved one upon your death, is still very much your asset to make decisions about. This liquidity makes it available to creditors should you face any debt. However, this doesn’t mean irrevocable living trusts are always the way to go. Revocable living trusts allow you to make changes as your life progresses, and other forms of assets that are protected from creditors also have liquidity. Plus, irrevocable trusts may face limitations and stricter regulations. But they are not always safe from creditors.
Whether or not you have an open fire, you can easily roast some chestnuts using this simple, delicious recipe. Buttery Roasted Chestnuts
2 pounds fresh chestnuts, unpeeled 2–3 sprigs rosemary
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Heat oven to 450 F. 2. Place a large sheet of foil on a rimmed baking sheet. 3. On a large, flat workspace, place chestnuts flat side down. Using a sharp knife, carve an X on the rounded side of each chestnut. 4. In a large bowl of hot water, soak chestnuts for 1 minute. 5. Pat dry and transfer to a medium bowl. Add rosemary, butter, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Toss to coat and transfer to baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer. Gather the edges of the foil together, leaving an opening at the top. 6. Roast until peels curl up, about 30–45 minutes. 7. Transfer to a platter and serve while hot or warm.
If you’re planning for your family’s future, don’t do it alone. Save the headache and learn how Keystone Law Firm can help you by visiting KeystoneLawFirm.com.
Inspired by Bon Appétit
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THE REAL MAGIC OF THE HOLIDAYS FINANCIAL STRUGGLES OLDER ADULTS FACE WHAT OUR FIRM CAN DO FOR YOUR FAMILY THE BIGGEST LIVING TRUST MYTH BUTTERY ROASTED CHESTNUTS HOLIDAY DECORATION TOURS
GET AWAY AND BE FESTIVE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
There’s nothing quite like the magical lights of the holiday
arches, but around the holidays, they are lit up with white string lights and flanked by snow. The Christmas decorations and lights surrounding the archway make for a Western-themed holiday pulled right out of a John Wayne classic. For holiday admirers looking for a unique spin, Jackson has you covered. Yearly Yuletide in Santa Claus, Indiana This one’s for the Christmas lover. If you can’t make it out to Santa Claus, Indiana, this holiday season, you can still celebrate Christmas in this tiny Midwestern town in January, June, or even October. Embracing its unique name, the town boasts a museum, holiday shopping center, and a Christmas theme park. In a moving tribute, the town’s residents also write responses to children’s letters to Kris Kringle himself. It’s impossible to avoid holiday cheer in this town. Disney World’s Christmas Magic What better place to celebrate the most magical time of the year than in the most magical place on Earth? Walt Disney World’s halls are decked to the max with a parade, gingerbread homes, strings of lights, and festive parties. Plus, costs to visit Disney World can be cheaper during the Christmas season, so keep an eye out for a vacation steal.
season, and some destinations in the U.S. have perfected the craft of holiday decoration. If you’re looking to get away this December and still engage in seasonal festivities, add one of these places to your must-visit list.
New York City’s Rockefeller Center New York City is an iconic location for Christmastime.
The scene is like a Hallmark card: Ice-skating lovers whiz past miles of twinkling lights underneath an exceptionally tall and amply decorated tree. The tree is specially selected by Rockefeller Center’s landscaping crews, who scout out trees years in advance. It remains lit from November to early January, so you have plenty of time to check it out. Ranch Christmas in Jackson, Wyoming Jackson, Wyoming, takes its frontier culture to the next level during the Christmas season. All year, the city proudly displays four elk antler
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